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Should you drop the big six for a small energy supplier?

Millions of households are switching to independent suppliers for cheaper energy bills and better customer service

Should you switch to a small energy supplier?

Should you switch to a small energy supplier?

According to the Daily Mail, households are leaving the big six due to repeated price increases, billing issues, poor customer service and difficulties experienced when claiming refunds.

At present, the top five deals in the energy best buy table are all offered by small suppliers. The three cheapest tariffs will all set back the average home by less than £1,000 per year, however, the cheapest on offer from the big six is almost £50 more expensive.

Small suppliers with growing customer bases

Over the past six years, a number of small, domestic energy suppliers have been established. The largest include First Utility, Ovo Energy and Ecotricity.

The number of people leaving the big six for independent suppliers rocketed following last year’s winter price rises, which saw the big six raise bills by close to 10%.

First Utility has managed to attract 475,000 households, Ovo Energy has 350,000 (double the number it had just six months ago) and green energy specialist, Ecotricity has 135,000.

However, to put these figures into context, the big six – British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, SSE and ScottishPower – still supply 95% of the British population.

Loyalty doesn’t pay in the energy sector

The news follows a report by uSwitch which highlighted the issue of customer loyalty in the energy sector.

According to energy regulator Ofgem, 62% of households have never switched supplier. This loyalty costs them up to £232 per year.

In stark contrast, homes which have switched to a small supplier from a big six standard plan, will save an average of £180 per year.

Read more

The best energy deals with no cancellation fees

Big six lose more than 2 million customers

  • VagueShot

    There is one other reason for switching to a small supplier. Or it might even apply to switching to another big supplier.

    About six months ago, I switched to OVO and have not had any problems except for a minor login problem to their web site, which was quickly fixed over the phone.

    When I swapped, OVO sent me a single sheet of A4 paper with all my electricity and gas details on it, so switching a second time, if something serious went wrong or I got an offer I couldn’t refuse from Mafia Energy, would be a much easier process as all the complicated numbers and details for the switch are at hand.

    I suspect that as with many things, the first switch or action is the most difficult.


    I’m with British gas, and use the electricity and gas by them, pay by direct debit too which is supposed to reduce bills. single person, not family household. Would switching from this be cheaper still? If so who is the cheapest deal? I dont know where to start.

    • SamG

      Try Ovo it First Utility. I’m single and use Ovo and my payments are £88 monthly for a 3 bed Victorian end terrace. As long as you’re happy to submit your meter readings yourself, you should be fine (& hopefully save money…)

      • tracy davenport

        i had been ovo had so much trouble with in in 49 days that i changed again they say there cheap but my electric bill was more expensive i changed to green star engery for gas and electric that in yr ill roughly be nearlly £600 better off might not sound much but good saving

    • BearofS2

      in my personal opinion, where ever you go, make sure the tariff doesn’t have any cancellation charges. you don’t want to have to pay if the prices come down

  • Tiggs48

    I switched to OVO 12 months ago on a fixed plan which has just expired and cannot rate them highly enough for their efficiency and customer service. At that time their plan was the most competitive but their excellent reputation was also a draw for me to consider them and they did not disappoint.

    Unfortunately because, for the next 12 months, I am able to save in excess of £100 on a collective fixed plan with one of the ‘big six’ , I have reluctantly decided to leave OVO but I hope to return to them in the future.